Share this entry

Share this page

gesture

Syllabification: ges·ture
Pronunciation: /ˈjesCHər
 
/

Definition of gesture in English:

noun

1A movement of part of the body, especially a hand or the head, to express an idea or meaning: Alex made a gesture of apology so much is conveyed by gesture
More example sentences
  • It has to do with attitude or spirit, which is reflected in speech patterns and facial expressions, hand gestures and overall body movement.
  • So what do their expressions, hand gestures, body movements and speech say about what they're really thinking and feeling?
  • Those quick hand gestures and body movements betray a restless energy and a need for variety and originality.
Synonyms
signal, sign, motion, indication, gesticulation;
show
1.1An action performed to convey one’s feelings or intentions: Maggie was touched by the kind gesture
More example sentences
  • She remembers other gestures of goodwill, including an Italian who took it upon himself to cook lunch for the farmer and his family while they were at church.
  • Sometimes, youngsters convey through their simple gestures what many adults can never express in a thousand words.
  • In a gesture of goodwill, a 24-hour internet cafe and a finance company in Edinburgh have offered US citizens free internet access to contact their loved ones.
Synonyms
1.2An action performed for show in the knowledge that it will have no effect: I hope the amendment will not be just a gesture
More example sentences
  • There was no indication that these paltry and tardy gestures have had any effect in dampening the mass protest movement.
  • A Department of Justice spokesperson rejected suggestions the move was a political gesture which would prove unrealistic when challenged.
  • He denied the move was a political gesture.

verb

[no object] Back to top  
1Make a gesture: she gestured meaningfully with the pistol
More example sentences
  • Gavin kicked her leg under the table, gesturing to their glaring father meaningfully.
  • Edwards, as nearly as I can tell, never utters a word without one or more hands gesturing in some significant, word-intensifying manner.
  • ‘No need to pay,’ he said, gesturing at the tables and chairs, ‘this is my home.’
1.1 [with object] Express (something) with a gesture or gestures: he gestured his dissent at this
More example sentences
  • I gestured my permission and then started to weep, remembering their occasional father.
  • Unable to comment on the fishing fiasco, they just gestured a weary resignation at yet another fine mess.
  • Then, for good measure, I also gestured gratitude in the mirror when in front of him.
1.2 [with object or infinitive] Direct or invite (someone) to move somewhere specified: he gestured her to a chair
More example sentences
  • She gestured me towards a screened-off area behind the check-in desk.
  • The man returned the salute and gestured him towards the desk in the center of the room.
  • She took it out and pointed it at him and curled it to gesture him to come towards her.
Synonyms
signal, motion, gesticulate, wave, indicate, give a sign

Origin

late Middle English: from medieval Latin gestura, from Latin gerere 'bear, wield, perform'. The original sense was 'bearing, deportment', hence 'the use of posture and bodily movements for effect in oratory'.

Derivatives

gestural

1
adjective
Example sentences
  • Yee has brushed thick gestural strokes of bright colour onto existing photographs, then re-produced these unique combined images in another photograph.
  • Gesturese is a physical manifestation of baby speak which modifies gestural communication for young children.
  • There have been many gestural attempts to endow some buildings and the institutions that they house with significance through architectural symbolism.

Definition of gesture in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day Sprachgefühl
Pronunciation: ˈʃprɑːxɡəˌfuːl
noun
intuitive understanding of a language’s natural idiom…